Saturday, March 31, 2018

Salad for Breakfast


Why not. A salad with a poached egg on top and drizzled with a light homemade dressing is probably one of the healthiest breakfast you’ve ever had. I don’t care if it’s a bacon, lettuce and tomato salad or an asparagus, snap pea and potato salad, as long as it’s made with Boston or Bibb lettuce.

I know theses Butterhead varieties can be called many things like; Boston, Bibb and Butter, but they are slightly different. Butterhead lettuce got its name from the sweet buttery flavor and delicate texture of the large, ruffled outer leaves.

It’s an ideal ingredient for almost any meal, including sandwiches, soups, smoothies, wraps and even breakfast salads, or any salad for that matter. Unlike Iceberg lettuce it is packed with essential nutrients and vitamins, particularly Iron, A, C and K.




BLT Breakfast Salad
Serves 4
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients:

2 slices bacon, cut into lardons
4 eggs
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Water, as needed
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 head Boston lettuce, cleaned, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

Directions:

Cut your bacon into lardons. Fry them in a skillet until they are crisp. Remove to a paper towel.


To make the dressing: Reserve bacon grease in skillet. Add the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to the skillet, stir to combine and remove from the heat.

In a saucepan large enough for all 4 eggs fill 2/3rds with water and add the distilled vinegar. When water is at high simmer stir the water around to create a whirlpool then drop the eggs in and cook no more than 3 1/2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain the water and place on a paper towel.

In four salad bowls add the torn Boston lettuce pieces and some grape tomatoes. Top with the poached egg and a few of the lardons. Drizzle on the bacon dressing and salt and pepper, to taste. Yum Yum!


ASP Breakfast Salad
Serves 4
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb Klondike potatoes, cleaned and cut in half
8 oz sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved on the bias
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb white or green asparagus (peeled if white), tough stems trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
4 large eggs, cooked over easy
1 to 2 heads of Boston or Bibb lettuce, cleaned and torn into pieces
1/4 cup fresh chives, snipped

Directions:

Cover potatoes with 2” of water and bring pot to boil add salt. Cook until you can pierce the potatoes with a knife, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same pot with the potatoes water add the snap peas and asparagus, bring to boil and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the water. The potatoes should be cool enough to slice into 1/4” thick rounds.

To make the dressing: In a saucepan melt the butter remove from heat and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

On 4 salad plates divide the lettuce and vegetables and drizzle with the dressing. Cook your eggs over easy and put them on top of the salad. Sprinkle with chives and salt and pepper, to taste. Yum Yum!

Friday, March 30, 2018

White Chocolate Almond Ice Cream

This White Chocolate Almond Ice Cream is made with no eggs. Since this ice cream is made without eggs it should enhance the flavors of the white chocolate and almonds.

It’s a very simple recipe with just 6 ingredients. It takes about 30 to prepare, 2 hours to chill and 20 minutes in the ice cream maker for soft frozen ice cream, completely frozen will take an additional 2-3 hours in the freezer. Yes, making homemade ice cream is involved, but it’s worth knowing what’s exactly in it, don’t you think.

Breyers homemade vanilla ice cream contains the following ingredients: milk, sugar, corn syrup, cream, whey, mono and diglycerides, carob bean gum, guar gum, carrageenan, natural flavor, annatto (for color), vitamin A palmitate and tara gum. What’s with all the gum? Carrageenan is an additive dirived from red seaweed that causes bloating, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive issues.

All I have to say is:




Ingredients:

3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 1/4 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons almond extract
6 oz white chocolate chips
1/2-1 cup slivered almonds

Directions:

In a medium size saucepan over low heat add the sugar, cream and milk; cook until the sugar dissolves. Cook until the mixture will leave a film on the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add in the white chocolate chips, stir until melted. Pour cream mixture into a bowl, add the almond extract and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours (or overnight).

Before pouring the mixture into the ice cream maker mix in the slivered almonds. Churn according to the manufacturer’s directions, 20-25 minutes. When done you will have soft frozen ice cream. Place ice cream in a freezer safe container and freeze for 2-3 hours. Yum Yum!


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Crockpot Small Honey Glazed Ham

I bought a small 1.5 lb ham for Easter and I don’t know if I should cook it in the crockpot or cut it up and cook it in the Scalloped Potatoes with Leeks and Thyme, that I’m planning on cooking anyway. Either way it should be good. Since I already made my post about the scalloped potatoes, this post will be a crockpot recipe for a ham that’s 2 lbs or less that I’ll add a honey glaze and brown sugar. Sounds good, right? My 1.5 lb ham will serve 3 people. A good rule of thumb is 1/2 lb per person. Time to prepare and cook is a little over 3 hours.

Ingredients:

Nonstick cooking spray
1 8 oz can of crushed pineapple
1.5-2 lb boneless ham
1-2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

My smallest slow cooker is my 3 quart mini Instant Pot,  otherwise I have a 6 quart crockpot. Which ever I choose I need to spray a good coat of a nonstick cooking spray before I pour in the can of crushed pineapples.

Prepare the ham by brushing on the honey. In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients then pack it on the ham. Place the ham cut side down on top of the pineapple. Any remaining brown sugar pile on top of the ham.

Cook on low for 3 hours. After 2 hours spoon some of the pineapple on top of the ham. After 3 hours check to see if the internal temperature has reached 140. Times may vary due to different crockpot/slow cookers and the size of the ham. Remove the ham from the crockpot and allow it to set for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve sliced on a platter garnished with some of the pineapple. Yum Yum!

Blueberry Breakfast Bake


I want to make this Blueberry Breakfast Bake for Easter morning. But then again I don’t think I can wait....it just looks too good.  Total Time to prepare and cook is approximately 50 minutes. Makes 12-16 pieces.

I’m having my first giveaway on April 1. It a cake decorating set. All you have to do is select the giveaway link in the home bar and answer the question. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on April 6th.

Ingredients:

Zest from one lemon
1/2 cup or 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 + 1/4 cups Flour, divided
2  teaspoons Baking powder
1 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Blueberries
1/2 cup Buttermilk

Directions :

Preheat the oven to 350F. In your standard mixer bowl add in the butter, lemon zest and 1 cup of sugar. Blend until fluffy. Add in the egg and the vanilla extract and beat to combine. In a bowl add the blueberries and 1/4 cup flour. In another bowl mix together the 2 cups of flour, baking powder and salt. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the batter use a spatula to incorporate. Add all the buttermilk and the remaining flour stir until all the flour is absorbed. Fold in the blueberries, discard excess flour from the blueberries bowl.

Grease an 8” or 9”  baking dish either by a nonstick cooking spray or with butter. If you have parchment paper line the dish on top of the butter.  Pour in the batter and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the 1 tablespoon of sugar on top. Bake 35-45 minutes for a 9” baking dish or 40-45 minutes for an 8” baking dish. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary return it to the oven. Let cool 15 minutes before serving. Yum Yum!

PS: If you want to make this the night before just use a piece of plastic wrap to cover the baking dish with the batter and refrigerate. In the morning let the batter sit out at room temperature for 30 minute, then sprinkle the sugar on top and bake according to the instructions above. It may take longer to cook, because it was refrigerated.



Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Three Cheese Tortellini with Pancetta Sweet Peas and Mint

Fresh homemade tortellini with a three cheese filling and served with pancetta, sweet peas and mint.

How do you make tortellini? The method is pretty simple, but a little time consuming. Prepare your dough in long paper-thin sheets, using a Kitchenaid pasta roller’s settings 1-6. Cut 2”-3” squares from the pastry sheet using a stainless steel dough scraper. Wet two sides, add the filling and fold over the filling to form a triangle. Make sure you get all the air out or your tortellini will explode in the boiling water. Fold the sides into the center and the top can be folded over the front or the back or just leave it up. Dust with semolina flour. You should have 4 sheets and roughly 32-40 tortellini when your done. Serves 4-5 

If you are not going to cook all of them they can be frozen, just freeze in a single layer, then transfer to sealable freezer bags for long term storage.




Filing Ingredients:

1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese, strained
1/4 cup fresh goat cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Zest from half of a lemon or lime
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
Semolina flour for dusting

Tortellini Ingredients:

2 swirls around the pan of extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz pancetta, finely diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large shallot, sliced
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups fresh peas, or frozen if fresh is unavailable
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
20 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2+ freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Filing Directions:

Strain ricotta cheese in a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl for at least an hour to remove excess liquid. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the goat cheese, Parmesan, lemon zest, egg, salt and pepper; using a silicone spatula fold to combine and then fill a pastry bag. Make your tortellinis per above instructions. Remember to get the air out before you fold the sides in and dust with semolina flour when you are finished.

Sauce Directions:

In a large skillet over med/high heat add the olive oil. When oil is simmering add in the pancetta and cook until it is crispy, about 3 minutes. Add in the butter, shallots and garlic and cook until the shallots are translucent, about 2 minutes. If using fresh peas add them with a 1/2 of hot water, otherwise, frozen peas do not need water. Add peas and stir until they are bright green and tender. Remove from heat, taste for adding salt and pepper and set aside while your cooking the pasta.

In a large pot of boiling water seasoned with salt add the tortellini and stir to prevent them from sticking together. They are done when they rise to the top of the water, about 3-4 minutes. Reserve a cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Return the skillet with the pancetta to the heat and add some of the pasta water just to thin the sauce, then the tortellini and lemon or lime juice. Toss gently to combine making sure you don’t break apart the pasta. Transfer to a plate, season with salt and pepper, if needed and garnish with the mint leaves and grated cheese. Serve hot. Yum Yum!

PS: I want to thank Sur la Table for the pasta class and this wonderful recipe.


Pappardelle with Lemon Asparagus Parmesan and Soft Eggs

Thanks Sur la Table for this great recipe. Tonight was our Spring Pasta Workshop making pasta dough from scratch, which I covered in my Homemade Pasta from Kitchenaid post. Now we learn what we can do with it besides the spaghetti and fettuccine cutters that come with the Kitchenaid pasta 3 piece kit.

This recipe we made the pappardelle which is a hand-cut large pasta ribbon.  Once you’ve made your dough cut it into 4 balls and let it rest for 20-30 minutes in a plastic bag. Attach the pasta roller to the Kitchenaid mixer. On spread 2 and the roller on 1 roll 1 dough ball then fold it like a letter going into an envelope and roll it again. Repeat 3 times. Change roller to 2 and roll the dough, continue to levels 3-6.  Flour both sides with Semolina flour between level 5 and 6. Now you should have a very long piece of pasta. Cut it in half and with each half fold it on top of itself going back and forth like you make a ribbon bow. The cut the width into 1/2 inch pieces. Dust the pieces with semolina flour and set aside. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.

Ingredients: (other than your pasta)

1 bunch of thin asparagus, trimmed and cut crosswise at a 45 degree angle into 1” pieces
1 medium size shallot, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1/2 teaspoon  + sea salt
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/4 cup cooking sherry
1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh flat parsley, chopped
Pepper, to taste
4 large eggs, poached
1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated

Directions:

Set a steamer over boiling water add the asparagus cover and let steam until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and place asparagus in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and set aside.

In a large pot of boiling water season with salt and add the pasta. Stir immediately to prevent them from sticking together. Cook al dente, 2-3 minutes. Reserve a cup of pasta water, drain in a colander.

In a skillet over med/low heat add a swirl of olive oil and the butter, when the butter melts add the asparagus, shallots, garli, lemon zest and the sherry. When the sherry cooks down and the shallots are translucent add in the cream and the pasta, stir to combine. If the pasta looks dry add in a little pasta water. Add in the basil and parsley, toss through. Salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer to a platter and top with the 4 poached eggs and garnish with the grated cheese. Yum Yum!

PS: if you prefer to have your asparagus crispier, do not steam. Just add it directly to the skillet and cook it 5-10 minutes prior to adding the lemon zest or sherry. (This is what we did in class)

Monday, March 26, 2018

Cream Cheese Banana Bread

Is there anything more satisfying than Cream Cheese Banana Bread. One bite and you know life is not merely tasks, but tastes. Tastes that just might make your day a little brighter, well maybe just your morning.

According to apinchofjoy.com, the cream cheese gives the bread a dense texture unlike conventional banana bread.  But this mixture has something in common with other quick breads, including banana bread. When you add the dry ingredients don’t overstir, as it will make the finished product tough.

I used sliced almonds which will make it easy to evenly distribute the nuts in the batter and also make it easier to slice the finished bread. Chopped walnuts or pecans would probably also be good! They added a touch of allspice – just enough to enhance the nutty and banana flavor, but not enough to really taste the spice. You can freeze one loaf, so you’ll have a bonus treat for another day!

You’ll need 2 loaf pans and a hand mixer to make this recipe. Total Time to prepare and bake is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Makes 32 slices.

INGREDIENTS:

¾ cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1½ cups mashed bananas, about four medium bananas
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon allspice
1 cup sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 8 by 4 inch loaf pans.
  2. in large mixing bowl beat butter and cream cheese until well mixed and creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each one.
  4. Mash bananas with a fork in a two cup measure and add to cream cheese mixture. Add vanilla.
  5. in a medium bowl combine dry ingredients. Gradually add flour mixture to the to the cream cheese mixture while beating at low speed until ingredients are just combined.
  6. Stir in the sliced almonds by hand.
  7. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared loaf pans.
  8. Bake at 350 for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and edges of bread have pulled away from the side of the pan slightly.
  9. Cool bread in pan on wire rack for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool for 2-3 hours before slicing.
  10. I like my banana bread slightly warm and topped with creamery butter. Yum Yum!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Scalloped Potatoes with Leeks and Thyme

I never cooked with or eaten leeks before, have you?

When I went to my cooking class we used leeks for the Chicken Pot Pie we made, which was really yummy by the way. The chef said leeks have a celery texture with an onion flavor, so I thought they would work with scalloped potatoes. What do you think?

According to simplyrecipe.com, when considering the leek mostly just the white and light green parts are eaten, though the darker green parts have plenty of flavor and can either be cooked longer to tenderize them, or used when making homemade soup stock.

The challenge when cooking with leeks is that they are almost always dirty. When leeks are grown, soil is piled up around them, so that more of the leek is hidden from the sun, and therefore lighter in color and more tender. What produces a beautiful leek, a long pale body, also results in sand and dirt being lodged deep inside the leek.

To clean the leek for this recipe first rinse the leek to wash off the visible dirt. Cut off the ends then cut it in half lengthwise. Fan open the leek and place it under cold water to get all the sand and dirt. Discard the dark greens and finely chop the rest. 


Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter plus more for baking dish
  • 1 cup finely chopped leeks (if needed, sweet onion may be substituted)
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated/minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds yellow/golden potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Coat an 8×8-inch (or approximate) baking dish with butter.
  2. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter. When butter has melted, add leeks; cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, thyme, continue to cook, stirring for 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in milk, heavy cream, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture has slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add potatoes; stir to coat potatoes. Transfer mixture to prepared dish, spreading potatoes evenly in dish.
  6. Bake until potatoes are done, lightly brown and bubbly, about 1 hour. If time permits, baste potatoes with sauce halfway through cooking. Let cool slightly before serving. The video shows that I made a roux and added ham and topped the dish with some grated fontina cheese. Yum Yum! My granddaughters gave it 2 thumbs up!

Iceberg Wedge with Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

This Iceberg Wedge with Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing is a salad you can make ahead of time and assemble when your ready to eat it. Just make the dressing, slice the vegetables and refrigerate separately. When ready to serve, slice a wedge from the iceberg lettuce, arrange the vegetables, top with blue cheese crumbles and your homemade creamy blue cheese dressing. And whala, a salad for lunch or a side with dinner. Either way this salad is simple and yummy. Serves 4

Dressing Ingredients:

4 oz Rouquefort blue cheese crumbles
2/3 cup good mayonnaise, not miracle whip
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Salad Ingredients:

4 tender inside stalks of celery, trimmed and sliced 1/4” pieces
6 radishes, trimmed and sliced in thin rounds
5 scallions, trimmed and sliced 1/4” pieces
1 large head of iceberg lettuce, cleaned and cut into wedges
4 oz Roquefort blue cheese crumbles
Sea salt, to taste

Directions:

In a bowl combine all the dressing ingredients and stir to combine. Cut the head of iceberg lettuce into 4 wedges. On each wedge top with dressing, vegetables, crumbles and sea salt (to taste). Yum Yum!


Saturday, March 24, 2018

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli and Rice


Tonight, tonight, won’t be just any night. Tonight there will be chicken broccoli and rice.
Tonight, tonight, We’ eat this meal tonight. And for us, this will be so very nice.

Today we’ll cook and clean and wait as the time goes so slowly and still the sky is light.
Oh soon it’s dusk And to make this is a must...tonight!

Oh what a night it is as we need a hearty hot meal .... look at this and it’s suppose to be spring!



Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2-2 lbs chicken breasts, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/3 cup rice
1 1/3 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2-2 cups cooked broccoli
1 1/2-2 cheddar cheese

Directions:

Turn Instant Pot on sauté and when it gets hot add in the butter. When the butter melts add in the cubed chicken, onions and garlic, cook until the onions are translucent.  Add in the rice, chicken broth, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Turn sauté off, put the top on and make sure the steam release valve is closed. Manually set on high pressure for 5 minutes then quick release.

In a bowl stir together the flour and milk and add it to the Instant Pot, mix well. Add in the cooked broccoli and cheese, stir until cheese melts. Serve. Yum Yum!




Thursday, March 22, 2018

Skillet Brownie

We made this skillet brownie tonight in cooking class. It is a recipe from Barefoot Contessa Make It Ahead cookbook.  

It’s rich, rich, rich in chocolate decadence that your family will love. It will be going, going, gone before you know it. 


You’ll need 4 small cast-iron skillets or 1 8” cast-iron skillet. 


Ingredients:



  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Hershey’s semisweet chocolate chips, divided in half
  • 1½ ounces or 3 tablespoons unsweetened chocolate powder
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder, such as Nescafé
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Heat the butter, 4 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium heat-proof bowl set over simmering water just until the chocolate melts. Remove the bowl from the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee powder, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and set aside to cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, sift together ¼ cup of the flour, the baking powder, and salt and stir it into the chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips and one tablespoon of flour together in a medium bowl and stir them into the chocolate mixture. Spoon the mixture into 4 individual 3.5” cast-iron skillets and place them on a sheet pan. Bake for 22 minutes exactly. Or 1 8” cast-iron skillet for 35-40 minutes. If the center is not set add 5 minutes and recheck, repeat if necessary until done. Don’t overbake! A toothpick inserted in the center will not come out clean. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream. Yum Yum!



Beef Tenderloin with Mustard Cream Sauce

Fresh creamery Mustard Cream Sauce made with a secret (🤫) ingredient Greek yogurt. Is there anything more satisfying than a juicy tender steak cooked to perfection?  I say, not as life is more than tasks, but tastes. And to top it off with this sauce is pure heaven.

Total time to prepare and cook 1 1/2 hour. Serves 8-9

Beef Ingredients:

4 lbs beef tenderloin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (alt cinnamon)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mustard Cream Sauce Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450F

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Let beef rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

In a bowl combine the spices with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Working on the baking sheet rub the beef with the olive oil then rub the spices on the beef. Roast in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees, about 40-50 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 15 minutes before slicing.

While the beef rests prepare the mustard cream sauce. In a bowl whisk together the oil, mustard, honey, salt and pepper until the honey dissolves. Add in the chopped shallots and Greek yogurt, stir to combine. Serve with beef. Yum Yum!

Thanks RedBook for the recipe.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Romanesco Orange Cauliflower Pasta Casserole

Who has eaten romanesco? How about orange cauliflower? 

Is an orange cauliflower better than the typical white varity? The orange cauliflower was discovered in Canada in 1970 and after many years of crossbreeding they are now widely available. The orange color comes from a genetic mutation that allows the plant to hold more beta carotene, which gives the plant 25% more vitamin A than the white cauliflower.

Despite being called the Cheddar cauliflower, it doesn’t have a cheesy taste. Orange cauliflowers taste about the same as the white ones, but some say it has a sweetier taste and creamier texture.

Romanesco looks like it came from an alien planet. It’s spiral formation didn’t always exist in nature, but was a result of selective breeding by Italian farmers in the 16th century.

This edible flower is from the same family that includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. It taste is very similar to cauliflower, but with a slightly nuttier, earthier flavor.

This recipe takes 45-60 minutes to prepare and cook. You need a Dutch Oven for this recipe. Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 of a head of romanesco, cut into florets
1/2 of a head of orange cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 box of mezze rigatoni
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
1/2 cup pecorino cheese, grated

Directions:

In a large pot bring to boil and cook the pasta al dente according to the package instructions.

While the pasta is cooking add the oil and butter to the Dutch Oven and warm on med/high heat. When hot add in the onions, garlic, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Stir until the onions soften.  Then add in the stock cook one minute then add in the wine. Arrange the romanesco and cauliflower on top of the onions then add the red pepper flakes, lemon zest and fresh rosemary. Cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the vegetables and pasta are done add a laddleful of pasta water to the vegetables. Drain the rest of the pasta water and add the pasta to the Dutch Oven with the vegetables. Add in the ricotta cheese, thyme and pecorino cheese, mix well. Taste test for adding additional salt and pepper. Serve hot. Yum Yum!

PS: Have a leftover chicken breast? Cube a cooked chicken breast to make this into a meal for dinner. Just add a salad and a glass of your favorite white wine. 

PSS: I really wanted to make this , but I guess I’ll have to wait until next December when romanesco is harvested and sold in stores. I’ve looked in most of the Indianapolis stores and there is none to be found.🙁


April Fools Caesar Salad Cake

I got my new Food Network Magazine today. I saw this Caesar Salad Cake recipe and thought it would be great for April Fools Day, which is also Easter Sunday this year. The croutons are just cubes of extra cake and the Parmesan cheese is shaved white chocolate. This recipe also includes a “dressing”, that’s a bottle of pourable frosting. 

In order to make this recipe you’ll need wafer paper, parchment paper, pastry brush and a vegetable peeler. Total Time to prepare and cook 3 hours. Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons vodka
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Green and yellow food coloring
Cooking spray
1 15-16 oz box of yellow cake mix plus required ingredients to make the cake per box instructions
1 16 oz tub of white frosting
1 oz white chocolate

Directions:

Make the lettuce: mix the vodka and the powdered sugar in a pie dish. Add a few drops of green and yellow food coloring and mix gently with a pastry brush. Do not fully mix as you want to have a few shades of green in the dish.

Lay out the wafer paper on a piece of parchment paper and lightly coat with the cooking spray. Brush on the food coloring mixture to fully cover leaving darker shades of green in some spots. Let dry until crisp, at least 2 hrs.

Coat a 1 1/2 quart oven proof bowl and 3 muffin tins with cooking spray. Prepare the cake batter per box instructions. Pour the cake batter in the muffin tins then the remaining in the bowl. Bake in a 325F preheated oven for 15 minutes for the cupcakes and 45-50 minutes for the bowl cake. Let cool.

Make the croutons:  Cut the cupcakes into 1/4 inch squares. Toast under the broiler until lightly browned. Set aside.

Remove the bowl cake and cut in half horizontally with a large serrated knife. Spread the white frosting on the bottom half and then cover with the top half.  Place the bowl cake in a salad bowl that is slightly larger than the bowl cake. Frost the top of the cake, but make sure you keep 1/2 cup of the frosting for the “dressing “.

Tear the green tinted wafer paper into small pieces and arrange them on top of the cake to look like lettuce. Keep a few pieces for the dressing.

Shave the white chocolate into thin shards with a vegetable peeler. Sprinkle the white chocolate and the croutons on top of the lettuce.

Make the dressing: Melt the 1/2 cup of reserved frosting in the microwave until pourable. Crumble the few pieces of wafer paper into the dressing to resemble herbs. Stir and pour into a salad dressing bottle.

Serve. Yum Yum!


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Creamy Tomato Cucumber Salad

Today is the first day of spring and warmer weather means lighter cooler salads. One of my favorite warm weather salad is the Creamy Tomato Cucumber Salad.

You know true love is the greatest thing in the world...except for a creamy tomato cucumber salad where the cucumber is cool and crisp and the tomato is ripe. Serves 6

Ingredients:

1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped
1 medium cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and
sliced
3 medium tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
1 red onion, thinly sliced

Directions:

In a large bowl combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and dill. Add in the cucumber, tomato and onion. Mix well, cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes. Yum Yum!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Homemade Pasta from Kitchenaid

Perhaps one day when you’ll wake from a pleasant slumber to the scent of fresh homemade pasta smothered in a spaghetti sauce and top with a couple meatballs...You’ll understand that life is not solely composed of tasks, but tastes.

Fresh homemade pasta made with your Kitchenaid...is there anything more comforting? I say there is. And perhaps you’ll agree when you sample homemade pasta vs store bought pasta from a box. With the genuine essence of homemade pasta in every bite you’ll  receive a luxurious comfort in your mouth without adding to the luxury of your waistline.

Nutritional facts: cooked, 1 cup serving
Homemade Fresh Pasta  vs. Dry Pasta
Calories 184 vs 224

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups “00” flour (plus additional for dusting)
3-eggs
Pinch kosher salt

Directions:

In the Kitchenaid bowl add your flour. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add your eggs and salt. Use the flat beater attachment, mix until combined. (Too dry, add an egg. Too wet, add more flour until a dough consistency forms)

Remove the beater attachment and attach the dough hook. Mix until the dough forms a ball. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to let it rest for approximately 30 minutes.

Using a sharp knife, or a pastry bench scraper, cut the dough ball into four equal portions. Refrigerate all but one until needed. Now attach your pasta roller and adjust to setting 1. Sprinkle the attachment with a small amount of flour.

Press the dough ball onto a clean pasta/pastry board until flat. Run the pasta through the roller attachment. Reset the attachment to setting 2 and run the pasta through. Continue with this pattern, adjusting the setting each time until your pasta is thin. This will take several phases. Continue with the remaining pasta balls.

Remove the pasta roller and attach the spaghetti cutter. Carefully run the pasta sheets through then transfer to a baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with flour until ready to cook. Repeat with the remaining pasta sheets. The fresh pasta should be cooked immediately in a pot of salted boiling water for 3-5 minutes. If your not ready to cook them let the pasta dry on a pasta rack for 30 minutes, then wrap and refrigerate for 2 days or freeze for 2-3 months. Yum Yum!


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Irish Spinach Mac and Cheese

I’m so glad I took a DNA test from Ancestry.com or I would never have found out I’m part Irish. You’d think with a family of gingers I would have known.

I want to wish everyone a Happy and Safe St. Patrick’s Day. This Irish Spinach Mac and Cheese is a fun way to celebrate the day with your children or grandchildren.

You’ll need a food processor to make this recipe. Total Time to prepare and cook is approximately 1 hour. Serves 4-6.




Ingredients:

8 ounces fresh baby spinach or 1 cup frozen spinach
  FYI: We are using fresh baby spinach, but if you are using a cup of frozen spinach skip step 1, the            blanching step.
1 bunch parsley, tough stems removed, about 1 cup packed of leaves
1/2 pound (2 cups) dry elbow macaroni pasta
Salt for pasta water
1 Tbsp cream
3 Tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded white sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon herbs de provence (or dry tarragon or Italian herb mix)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and/or 2 finely chopped anchovies
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt to taste

Directions:

1. Blanch the fresh spinach and parsley. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the spinach and parsley and blanch for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove the parsley and spinach and place them in a bowl of ice water. DO NOT discard the blanching water as you will use it to cook the macaroni. Remove the spinach and parsley from the bowl of ice water and place them on some paper towels. Blot them to remove excess liquid.

2. Return the blanching water to boil add 1 tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water. Add macaroni and cook it al dente. If the box instructions say cook for 8 minutes, only cook for 6 minutes.  The macaroni will continue to cook when it’s added to the sauce. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

3. While the macaroni is cooking, In your food processor purée the spinach and parsley with a tablespoon of the cream until smooth.

4. Make your white roux. In a medium size saucepan add the butter. Once the butter has melted add in the garlic and cook 20-30 seconds then add the flour, stir to combine. Remove from heat and slowly add in your milk whisking continuously (best to use a flat whisk to get rid of lumps). Return to the heat and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens.

5. Add in your seasonings and cheeses, stir until cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. Add in the spinach and parsley, stir to combine. Add in the macaroni and fold it into the sauce, mix well. Taste test to see if more salt is needed. If you want you can add some cheese to the top and broil for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese melts. Yum Yum!

My little Irish gingers